Friday, February 27, 2015

A recap of our first year. In Fiji.

I always thought that time flew by in the first-world States, but oh my.  Island life is slow, but time here manages to sneak right by you.

We've been here in Fiji for a year?!

I had some great intentions to blog like a mad woman, about life in Fiji.  As I walked through our first year here, I had ideas of potential blog posts rolling through my mind every single day...

-Buying 4 days worth of groceries requires trips to 11 different stores.  Seriously.
-Taxi drivers need criminal charges.
-What to do in a cheese shortage?  (answer:  try not to lose your mind).
-Customer service hasn’t reached the south Pacific yet.
-Wearing flip flops 365 days a year does not get old.  Ever.
-How to pull off groovy Pinterest projects with no access to Home Depot.  (or Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn's, or Target, or Walmart).  ..I think I just heard someone gasp...

But since I completely wasted my first year here with grocery shopping, yelling at taxi drivers, hunting for cheese, and painting my toenails, blogging never made it to the top of my to-do list.
So here are my thoughts on our first year here.

Everyday Life.

Fiji Water is for real, and it's on every shelf.
Paddling with an outrigger crew is just as fun as it looks!
Carnivals here are definitely old school.  Especially the rides.
You have to be a huge fan of turkey to spend this for Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, we're huge fans.
Monkeyin' around at the market.
My fresh flower helper.
Need some scented oils for the home?  
Here ya go.
Buying meat in Fiji is....different.
 Sometimes they speak Texan here!
Good news.  Coffee in Fiji is fabulous.
And there's not one single Starbucks.  (hallelujah!!)

Having your kids leave the most amazing school (on the planet) and move across the world to an international school in a developing country is scary.  But we’re glad we did it.  Although we may have to do some tutoring when we head back to the States, our kids are incredibly happy, more independent and balanced, than ever. 

Learning about traditional Fijian culture.
 Celebrating Diwali at school.
 Little martial arts mama.
Always working with the PTA, 
no matter where we are!

I’m amazed that in such a short time I’ve been truly blessed to have met some really wonderful people, and from all over the world.  I enjoy our different world views about life, politics, religion, foods, education, and raising kids. 

An ABBA themed fundraising night.  
Dancing queens...
 A lovely evening out with some French culture.
 Just a good ol' ladies night!
 Fun Day at the International school.
 Recipe club!  I've found my fellow foodies!

We live in Suva.  
This is Suva.  A port.

It’s not the beach, nor is there a beach nearby, but this is where we call “home” for now.
We’re not living in a bure over blue water, but we can definitely get to that blue water a whole lot faster than when we were Stateside.

Here are some of our favorite pics from our resort &  beach time.

 Yes, I've found my happy place.
 A trampoline.  On the ocean!!
 Having a drink at the bar.  With the kids?
 Unidentified sea life.
 Monkeys, doin' what monkeys do.
 Home is far, far away!
 You can have a whole lotta fun with pineapple and coconuts!
 My snorkel buddy.

And because we’re on this side of the world these days, we’re taking a family vacation through Asia soon!  This is something we most probably would have never done while living Stateside.

Island life has it's third-world challenges, but there are wonderful aspects of living down here.

We do miss home. 

Our once a week "mail day" from the States is quite exciting!

And something completely new to us, is that I'm now working!  For the first time in 10 years!  But that's for another blog, another day.

Here's a day at the office:

That's about it for my first year update.  
Thanks for tuning in!

If you're living where the temps are frigid, my best advice is to book a flight!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Opinions Wanted!

Bula Vinaka!
I'm happy to say that in our short 7 months of living here in Fiji, I've met some of the most fantastic wives/moms/spouses/ladies/girlfriends, and from all parts of the world.
In fact, our kids' school hosts children from over 40 different nations.
That's some serious diversity!

Now that we're (mostly) settled here,  and we have a great group of friends to gather, I'm putting together a book study!

At the moment, I'm trying to choose between two of Jen Hatmaker's books.

I've just read "7", which is honestly one of the best books I've ever read.
It was very timely for me, and from what I hear, it's been very timely for most of my friends.
I haven't touched Interrupted yet, but it's just been released again and I've heard it's also a great read.

For those of you who are avid readers (or Bible-study-goers), which of these two books would you suggest that our little group should dive into as our first read?

Let me know what you think - opinions wanted!

And yes, I supposed I'll have to post a few pics of us chatting over our book as we're poolside or beachside...hee in the islands is rough!

Blessings & Cheers!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Those Crafty Fijian Mamas

Hello my dear craft-loving friends.
This week marks a lovely milestone for women across Fiji, as we celebrate the first National Women’s Expo, here in Suva.

You see, for the first time ever, Suva is hosting a massive Fiji-wide handicraft (all things handmade) fair to celebrate the beautiful talents of the local women of these islands.

Fiji is such a beautiful country, but it still has a long way to go in appreciating its women. 
There are not a lot of opportunities for women living in more rural parts of the country, so an opportunity to showcase and sell their handmade wares is rare and wonderful!

The expat community only heard about this fun event last night.  
Thanks to Facebook, the word got out quickly and we were all there to shop and support these mamas today. 

Here is what they had to offer!

 Color, color, color... I can never get enough of fun colors!

Notice the shy-smiles?
I come from a land that's currently selfie-obsessed, while these ladies were very hesitant to have their picture taken at all.  Sweet humility.

Is this the cutest thing ever?  

I had to remind myself that we will be here for three years, so there was no need to buy every single thing that I instantly loved! 
I did come home with a SaluSalu, which has been on my list since we arrived.
It's meaning is similar to the Hawaiian Lei, but instead of fresh flowers, these are carefully hand-made from coconut trees!
(No, I won't be sporting it daily to the local markets, it's going to be used for home decor!)

I also bought these fun beaded necklaces that are made from recycled materials.
On a green note, Fijian crafts are made almost entirely of natural or recycled goods.  
We don't have access to a Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's or Walmart (go ahead and gasp), so you use whatever you can get your hands on.
It's true creativity!

I’m thrilled that an event such as this is happening here in Fiji.  
With recent emerging concepts such as Noonday Collection and World Vision Micro, our eyes are being opened to ways that we can truly touch the world with our spending choices.
We can be responsible consumers.

Instead of shopping at your local mall, how about spending your cash in a way that directly puts food on someone else’s table? 

That’s buying with a purpose, so I’m all in!

To read more about how your purchase choices can greatly affect wonderful women across the globe, read Jen Hatmaker’s recent blog post, “Women Hold Up Half the Sky”.

As always, thanks so much for tuning into my little glimpse of life. 
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